Mexico Tells Israel: Crisis Caused by Netanyahu's Tweet Is Over After President Rivlin's Phone Call

Rivlin spoke with his Mexican counterpart after a tweet by Netanyahu described Trump's planned wall as a 'great idea,' causing a diplomatic crisis. Rivlin said he regrets any hurt caused by the PM's tweet.

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Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks at meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps in Mexico City, Mexico January 11, 2017.
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks to the audience during a meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps in Mexico City, Mexico January 11, 2017. Picture taken on January 11, 2017 REUTERS/CaCredit: Carlos Jasso/Reuters
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Barak Ravid

Mexico told Israel on Tuesday that after a phone call between the presidents of the two countries, it considers the diplomatic crisis over. The crisis erupted on Saturday after a tweet by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico as a "great idea."

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A senior Israeli official said Mexico's deputy foreign minister called Israeli ambassador Yoni Peled on Tuesday to inform him that following messages received from President Reuven Rivlin in a conversation with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, the crisis between the countries is now over. 

Rivlin spoke by phone with Nieto earlier on Tuesday in an effort to quell the dispute that arose over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's tweet in support of the wall that the U.S. plans to build along the border with Mexico.

In his tweet on Saturday, Netanyahu described President Donald Trump's plan for the wall as a "great idea."

Netanyahu's tweet was vociferously criticized by Mexico, with Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray saying that it "felt like an aggressive act" and calling on Israel to apologize.

Rivlin explained to the Mexican president that the crisis was the result of a misunderstanding and expressed regret for any hurt caused to the feelings of the Mexican people.

"The security situation in Israel and the region brought us to the important decision to build a barrier along our borders," Rivlin said. "We have no intention of drawing comparisons between Israel's security situation and constraints and the situation of any of our friends around the world."

"I am certain that no one intended to make a comparison between the situation in Israel and that of Mexico. It was all a misunderstanding."

He added that the ties between Israel and Mexico were strong and important and that both countries needed to leave the misunderstanding behind them. "I'm sure we can put it behind us," he said.

The president also referred to the close ties between Israel and the Jewish community of Mexico, according to his office, saying that the community "plays an important role in Mexico's socio-economic development and acts as a bridge between the two countries."

Pea Nieto thanked Rivlin for his efforts to resolve the crisis. "I want to stress that Mexico has always had close relations with Israel and we want that to continue," he said.

Unfortunately, he added, the ties had been damaged by Netanyahu's tweet. "We are fully aware of the explanation that has been given for the tweet, but the interpretation of what was said was unavoidable."

"It aroused many reactions in Mexico and I'm sure you're aware of them," he added. "Our request for public clarification was unavoidable."

A statement published by Mexico's Foreign Ministry after the call said Rivlin apologized for the fact that Mexico was hurt by Netanyahu's tweet.

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